Sunday, March 15, 2009 7:59 PM
Zero Footprint Document Image Viewer For SharePoint
Last month Atalasoft launched Vizit SP, a zero-footprint document image viewer for SharePoint. When we released DotImage in 2003, our goal was to help organizations build web-based document imaging solutions faster and with better technology. We did this by providing a powerful, yet easy to use API with many UI controls focused on document imaging including the very first AJAX based Zero-Footprint Image Viewer. Fast Forward to 2009 with our 7th major release of DotImage and with tens of thousands of successful server installations of our zero-footprint viewer. We solved the document image viewing, editing, and annotating problem pretty well for .NET developers. With the popularity of SharePoint we knew we had the right technology at the right time and made the decision to build Vizit SP (see my August 2008 blog article). This article explains more about the benefits of Vizit SP and a bit about how it works.
Vizit SP’s core technology is DotImage and our zero-footprint document imaging technology. It provides a user interface for viewing, annotating, and editing scanned and faxed documents inside of SharePoint. We could have built a simple document viewer web part for SharePoint (many of our customers are doing this now with DotImage). However, after some research, we determined that a full viewing application was required that would include a view of not only the image, but a library explorer, property editor, and annotation tree. Think of Vizit SP as the RIA (Rich Internet Application) interface to work with document images in SharePoint. It’s a productivity application that leverages all of the document management features already a part of SharePoint, in a very easy to use, modern UI.
There are many uses for Vizit SP. Here are a few general ones.
Vizit SP really shines after the documents are submitted to SharePoint from a capture application when part of a workflow. I visited an insurance company recently where they had a requirement to manually QA a certain percentage of their indexed documents. You can do this in SharePoint by building a relatively simple workflow that emails QA staff with a link that opens the document directly into the Vizit SP viewer without requiring that the document be downloaded to the client, and without requiring any software installed on the client. The document can then be reviewed, properties edited to fix indexing mistakes, and if the document came in damaged, dirty, or upside-down, it can be cleaned up within the Vizit SP interface. To continue to collaborate on the document, annotations can be added, such as a text note and a freehand markup circling the problem area in the document.
It doesn’t matter where the images come from, it can be a desktop scanner, MFP, fax, production scanner, etc. There are many great capture solutions on the market today that probably fit your business quite well. Many of them have or are currently working on tight integrations with SharePoint. Some of these applications are built using TWAIN, ISIS, Image Viewing, and cleanup technology from our own toolkit, DotImage.
Vizit SP can be very helpful in finding documents stored in SharePoint. With the previewer functionality (available for no cost), you can quickly view a thumbnail preview of a document before deciding to open it. This prevents the user from downloading many documents before finding the correct one. When combined with the Vizit SP viewer, even more time is saved as only the first page of the document is downloaded to the client. The document is viewable much faster than downloading the entire document to the client, then opening in a client viewer.
Universal Document Viewing
The Previewer combined with the Vizit SP viewer provides a universal web-based viewer for all your common document formats stored in SharePoint including TIFF, PDF, and MS Word. Very soon Vizit SP will have the ability to open nearly 100 various formats including legacy formats, all office formats, and CAD documents. It’s unlikely that a user will have a client viewer installed that supports all flavors of TIFF plus 100 other formats. IT Administrators will no longer have to install or maintain client image viewing software. Help desk calls are reduced as the same viewer is used for remote clients and for Windows, Mac, and Linux PC’s.
Large Format TIFF and PDF Viewing
We specifically optimized our TIFF and PDF codecs for viewing large documents on the web. Our Zero-Footprint viewer breaks each page into tiles, then streams these tiles to the client in a similar fashion to Google maps. Very large scans, such as CAD documents, Oil Well Logs and Strip Charts that are stored as TIFFs cause most client viewers to be very sluggish or crash. Vizit SP will view these documents in just a couple of seconds. Zooming occurs instantly while the server creates a higher quality scale version with our optimized Scale-To-Gray resizing.
More information about Vizit SP can be found at www.vizitsp.com.